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The Man Who Saw TomorrowThe Life and Inventions of Stanford R. Ovshinsky$
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Lillian Hoddeson and Peter Garrett

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037532

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037532.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 05 August 2021

The Birth of ECD: An Invention Factory (1965–1979)

The Birth of ECD: An Invention Factory (1965–1979)

(p.123) 6 The Birth of ECD: An Invention Factory (1965–1979)
The Man Who Saw Tomorrow

Lillian Hoddeson

Peter Garrett

The MIT Press

With new resources gained from licensing Ovshinsky’s discoveries, his company, renamed Energy Conversion Devices (ECD), expanded into an ambitious research and development laboratory. Its growing staff of highly trained scientists pursued both theoretical explanations and practical applications of the Ovshinsky effect, in the process helping to open the vast scientific field of materials research. Their first success was the optical phase-change memory that became the basis of rewritable CDs and DVDs. The new companies that ECD established circa 1970 to commercialize instant imaging and optical memory systems based on Ovshinsky’s new “Ovonic” proprietary materials did not succeed, however, and ECD struggled to survive. Its fortunes dramatically improved a decade later when its new photovoltaic program, aimed at developing and producing thin-film amorphous silicon solar cells in large quantities attracted major funding from the prominent oil corporation Atlantic Richfield (ARCO).

Keywords:   Energy Conversion Devices, optical memory, thin-film solar, rewritable CDs and DVDs, Ovonic materials, ARCO

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